One works with cell tower technology; another owns a restaurant chain; and the third is a realtor.
The goal: they all want to make Connecticut a more business-friendly place. The three met with constituents of Trumbull's "Ladies for Liberty" at the .
Steve Obsitnik, who is running against U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, opened the forum with a story about his grandfather, a German immigrant with a limited education.
"He struggled," Obsitnik said. Several of his businesses failed before he started a machine shop that later earned him an award from President Ronald Reagan. Obsitnik followed in his father's footsteps and started his own business after leaving the U.S. Navy.
He called the contest with Jim Himes "salesmanship v. leadership."
"I care about people. I care about our district," Obsitnik said. "This is going to be a challenging race."
"The biggest asset we have is finding a way for corporations" to invest their money right now, Obsitnik continued.
One way to do that is making companies and government run more efficiently.
He also stressed the importance of education, noting that many of the women in his family were or are teachers.
First Selectman Tim Herbst called Obsitnik "a proven job creator."
"He's a good man. He will do a good job," Herbst said.
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Chadwick Ciocci and David Rutigliano
Herbst said Rutigliano has practical business experience.
"He understands the ramifications of [regulations] and how they affect businessowners," Herbst said.
One problem is hiring young people is more expensive, said Rutigliano, who owns the SBC restaurant chain. A seventh is slated for Norwalk. He's vying for T.R. Rowe's seat in the state House of Representatives.
"It's become more and more expensive to take a shot on a young person," said Rutigliano.
The cost to train is too much, so hiring more experienced people saves money, he said.
Regarding state spending, Rutigliano said, "For every one dollar we send to Washington, we get back 66 cents."
He also noted that for every Connecticut state employee, there are seven citizens. In California, there is one state employee for every 175 citizens.
The restaurateur further called for Malloy to use General Accounting Principles to run the state.
One of the candidates also cited that Connecticut is number one in the loss of 18- to 34-year-olds, and new private sector jobs have not been created in 20 years.
Ciocci, a five-term Town Councilman eyeing state Sen. Anthony Musto's seat, vowed to try to repeal the "Musto-Malloy tax increase," and criticized the state leaders for confusion on whether there is a budget deficit or a surplus.
"In Connecticut, two plus two no longer equals four. I think enough is enough," he said.
He said cutting spending "is not hard," and job creation must be the number one priority.
Ciocci propsed some ideas. High School students eligible to graduate in three years receive half of their education cost and put it toward post graduate work, from college to other roads.
Secondly, he proposed electing the Siting Council, citing the recent approval of a taller cell tower for .